is an Advice Column for Humans by One Human. We want to hear what you’re struggling with these days. Relationships? Breakups? Family? Friends? Jobs? Mental health? Anything.
I have been in a relationship for almost 8 years now and I am 29. In the beginning, it was all good we were kids and everything seemed happy.
After a couple of years, things started to go off very slowly. Ideas started clashing. He comes from a lower-income background than me and so anything new I would experience, even a new iPhone, would hurt his ego. It was to the point that I would be scared to share anything new with him because I wouldn’t want to hurt or upset him.
Small things I would do would bother him… small things became big… I am very emotional and my first reaction sometimes is to get teary. I need a lot of emotional support and so when I would be down, I would tell him that and at times instead of a hug or comfort, he would laugh at me crying.
He’s told me to get out of his house multiple times during arguments. All of this hurt, but somehow when he did spend happy times with me, I would shove all of this to the back.
Past two years he has been asking if we should get married, and all of this has been playing on my mind so much that I am scared to commit to him. We have broken up multiple times and it’s mostly him breaking up with me and then he nags me and convinces me to take him back and says he loves me and I am all he has.
Now I feel like all his behaviors are making me just depend on all of this negativity. Now his biggest reason amongst other reasons is that I don’t say yes to marrying him. It’s soooo hard to get out of this relationship and equally hard to be in it. I find that no one understands fully when I tell them how I feel.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, he actually hurled abuses at me over the phone. He has never done that. This has crossed the line for me. I feel hurt, disrespected, and ashamed that he’s the one I am choosing to be with.
What should I do in this situation? It is affecting my mental health so bad.. especially now cause I am in a different country doing my masters and I don’t have my family and friends here to take comfort in.
My heart hurts so much reading this.
It sounds like you have so much empathy for how badly he feels when you get new things. While that’s amazing, it’s also important to celebrate your own victories and have gratitude for things like having money to buy a new iPhone. When someone’s ego is hurt by that, that’s a signal of their jealousy and that’s their responsibility to take care of.
While arguments and taking time to cool off are normal, threatening the relationship isn’t. Asking you to get out of his house isn’t a resolution or even leads to a resolution. It just escalates the scenario. In that case, you may want to ask yourself, am I ok solving arguments like this forever? If we get married and have kids, am I willing to accept the escalation of anger?
And let me be clear: If you’re in emotional turmoil and someone laughs at you, that’s completely inappropriate. Some people laugh out of nervousness, in which case their behavior still needs to change, but it’s less malice. But ask yourself, does he like when I’m sad? Does he behave/say things to make me sad on purpose? If the answer is yes, you should consider whether the relationship has become emotionally abusive. The fact that he’s “hurled abuses” at you over the phone sure sounds like it has. You deserve more. But you know that. You know he crossed the line. Knowing that doesn’t always make it any easier though and I’m a prime example of that.
I was with a guy who I know had a good heart deep down, but he was deeply troubled by his trauma from childhood, adult life and addiction. Although I tried my best to be understanding of all these issues, they would bleed through in ways I couldn’t control. They started showing up as disrespect, dishonesty, anger, and (although I hate typing this), emotional abuse. He would do something undeniably wrong (like not show up or even text me to tell me). When confronted about those issues, he would just get angry, blame me, call me names and then apologize the next day when he was sober and embarrassed. I kept half-heartedly accepting it, only for the same thing to happen again. But I loved him and there were so many good times. Even in the best times though, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that it would end, like I was waiting for the rug to be pulled from underneath me again. The ups and downs caused even more depression and anxiety in my life. I couldn’t think straight at work or outside of it—it consumed so much of my energy.
Your line, “It’s soooo hard to get out of this relationship and equally hard to be in it,” hits home in the most discomforting way.
Like you, nobody knew the situation I was in. I was too embarrassed to tell people how I allowed someone to treat me. I didn’t want other people to think it was ok to accept that behavior in their own life. I didn’t need advice because I knew what I’d hear since it would be the same advice I’d given myself and chosen to ignore.
But ignoring the worst only made it worse. One day, he texted me early in the morning in a taunting fit of anger. I still have no idea what caused it because we weren’t even fighting. He told me I was “done.” Told me some family, who lived close, was also “done.” When I told him I couldn’t do it anymore, he told me I was “weak” and “throwing everything away” and throwing him out “as easily as garbage.” But it was anything but easy.
I made sure my family locked their door that day. But I didn’t tell anyone except 2 co-workers (in case something happened). I didn’t want to worry anyone. I didn’t want to embarrass myself. I knew they wouldn’t understand the bond I had with this guy and the roller coasters I’d been on. I knew they’d judge me. But I also knew that it had to be the final straw. Emotional abuse often escalates into ways you can no longer control. I needed sanity back. I needed me back. Not going to lie to you, I’m still licking my wounds. But at least I’m not allowing more to be created.
Sometimes, when we’ve been with insensitive people or torn down enough, we believe that emotional needs aren’t “real” needs. They are. They’re also part of a healthy relationship. Emotional needs are very valid and necessary.
It sounds like you’re a sensitive person. It sounds like you need someone who can listen to you, support you and argue with you in a calm, non-threatening manner. You’ve never got to experience this type of person because you’ve been in this relationship so long. So I challenge you to find it. After ending an 8-year relationship, you’ll probably want time to heal before searching. But start getting excited about the possibilities.
You can find someone who’s nice to you. Who respects you. Who you can be yourself around. Who you can share your victories alongside without them getting jealous. Who you can trust. Who you feel confident getting married to. Someone who doesn’t give you that awful feeling at the bottom of your gut that you keep trying to push down. Someone who will make you stronger together than you both are apart.
But if you never jump off the roller coaster, your feet will never hit the ground.
You don’t need to consider your deal breakers, because you already know them. What you need to instead consider is whether you’ll be happy living with them indefinitely. If your partner can’t emotionally support you, it would be awful to live your life like that forever. And yet, if you don’t break up with him, that will be your life forever. Because sadly, we can’t change people. Even if we love them. Even if we love them. Even if we love them.
I think you’re writing because you know what to do, but you’re not sure if it’s the right choice. I mean, you know it’s the right choice, but you’re afraid of how life will change without him. About throwing away something you’ve worked so long to build. Maybe you’re afraid of hurting him. I think that deep down, you’ve felt for a while that the end is enviable. You can either pull the plug now or wait until the relationship gets more toxic and possibly even dangerous.
But if you end it now, you’ll give yourself space to heal. You’ll give him the space he needs to heal the things he’s been avoiding. You’ll be able to finally breathe. You won’t be waiting for the other shoe to drop. You’ll have more mental energy for anything you want.
My last note is that now is probably a good time. Breaking up something toxic can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure how the other person will react or if it will be safe. That physical distance right now could be a gift. It forces you to be apart.
And, although I don’t think you should, if you stay with him a bit longer, please keep reminding yourself that his behaviors are not ok. Please do not normalize them to yourself, even if he tries to convince you. You are correct in your feelings.
You know what to do 🙂
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